The Benefits of A Water Birth
Water birth is exactly what it sounds like, giving birth in a tub of water. Of course you will want to keep the water warm as that is most comfortable for mother and child. While it is an uncommon practice, it is one with many benefits.
Some who go this route opt to get out of the water for delivery; however many find that staying in the water through the entire process is much more comfortable for both parties involved. The theory is that the baby who has been carried in amniotic fluid for the duration of the pregnancy will bring him/her into the world in a similar environment, causing a much more smooth transition for baby.
What are the benefits of water birth you ask?
There are multiple benefits for both mother and child. For mom it is a relaxing environment. Have you ever experienced menstrual cycles that come with severe pains? A hot bath is often used to sooth those pains, the reaction to the pains of labor are similar emerged in a tub of warm water.
Another benefit for mom is that water makes us lighter; this allows more movement and easier repositioning. Buoyancy allows for more efficient contractions and improves the blood circulation. This results in better oxygenation, causing less pain for the mother and more air for baby.
Water is a natural stress reliever, which allows the mother’s body to produce natural endorphins that provide a natural source of pain relief.
Water births also help to lessen tearing and a need for episiotomy and/or stitches. Water also proves to offer a sense of privacy, reducing anxiety.
With all the stress reduced on mom and the environment conducive with that of the amniotic sac, it is easy to see that it benefits the baby, adding a little reassurance and security.
Who should not participate in a water birth?
There are certain sexually transmitted diseases that transfer easily in water, if you have an STD, it is important that you discuss this option with your physician.
If you are expecting multiples you may be at a higher risk for harm, it is important that you understand the potential dangers. Consulting a doctor can help you to decide whether this is still option for you.
If you go into labor prematurely it is a good idea to opt out of water birth. This is mainly for those who are more than two weeks premature.
If you have severe meconium it is a good idea to give birth out of water. Lower instances of meconium are fairly common and your midwife or health care provider will be able to handle the situation.
In the circumstance that your child is breech this could provide extra danger to your delivery. It is still possible, but maybe not the safest option.
What is the process of preparing for water birth?
If you are looking to birth at home, you can rent a birthing tub for under $400. In fact, while trying to find parking at Newark airport, I heard an advertisement for them on the radio. If you choose to birth at home, it is important to have a midwife or some other health care professional to aid you in the process.
Most importantly when preparing, do your research. While, I have offered some pretty sound advice, your doctor should be included in this decision.
The benefits to this method of child rearing are great. Water is a mood stabilizer… a stress reliever; bringing your child into the world under the most natural of circumstances is ideal, as the few moments after birth are crucial to the bond that will be created between mother and child.